What do you need to see from Ryan Fitzpatrick during practice and in preseason game action to raise your confidence in him?
DeFeo: Ryan Fitzpatrick is a veteran quarterback that has been around the league for 14 years now. He is by no means an elite quarterback but he has been a serviceable backup. We know who he is at this point in his career. What I want to see from him is distance himself from Ryan Griffin. Griffin has never had an NFL start and I would feel much more comfortable having the experience on the field against three of the toughest teams in the league. I would also like to see him have fewer turnovers. Jameis Winston’s biggest fault was turnovers and Fitzpatrick wasn’t that much better last season. Turnovers are inevitable in this game but if the Bucs can keep giveaways to a minimum, that will give them their best chance to win. They have all the weapons to be a successful offense with any quarterback and Fitzpatrick has a chance to make a real splash if he can win any of these first three games.
Horan: For me to gain some trust in Fitzpatrick, I need to see him making smart decisions with the football (this extends to Jameis Winston too). Knowing Fitzpatrick at this late stage of his career, we can pretty safely say that he is who he is, so I shouldn’t hold my breath. I think that the Buccaneer offense in the first three weeks will be dialed back a bit with less 20 yard passes and more “extended hand-offs” in the form of short passes to the running back. If Fitzpatrick adheres to this and is still able to hit on the open downfield throws the Buccaneers will be fine – they don’t need 300 yards and 30 passing attempts by Fitz to win. There’s no reason for him to adopt a gunslinger mentality.
King: “Fitzmagic” is a veteran who has been in the league for a long time. So for me, the preseason isn’t that important for him to show us anything in specific. I’ll be looking to see how he can get on the same page with the whole offensive unit. As long as he can keep the games close and give the boys a chance to win he will have done his job.
Quesenberry: At this point in time, I actually am quite confident with Ryan Fitzpatrick. He has been in this position before and he has usually gotten the job done. Last year he did quite well in the games he played in. The Bucs have a better defense and run game this year and he needs to utilize that as much as possible. So what does Ryan Fitzpatrick need to do in preseason? Fitzpatrick needs to NOT GET HURT!! The Bucs are lucky to have a veteran quarterback who has started many games in the NFL. If he gets hurt the Bucs are in big trouble.
Doyle: I need to see fluidity from the offense in preseason games. I’m not asking for a scoring drive every time out. Just some confidence and timing with his receivers. If I can see the players believe in Fitzpatrick out on the field, I can breathe a tad easier before week one. Fitzpatrick should have a strong understanding of Koetter’s system and he will likely get to spend most of the time with the first-team offense in camp too.
Stalheim: Ryan Fitzpatrick has been nothing special in his career as he has a career losing record and only two winning seasons. He averages about 60% completion rate, but one thing he did do last season when he started in three games (2-1) for the Buccaneers was he threw twice as many touchdowns as interceptions (7-to-3). If he continues that trend of making careful and accurate passes during training camp and preseason I will be slightly encouraged. I think the caliber of competition that he will play against in the first three games will make mistake free football even more important. Although I do not believe that the team will go 0-3 in those games either, so stay tuned.